The gadfly documentarian that is Michael Moore takes an unflinching, if diffuse look at recent U.S. history with quite an intense snap to it eliciting righteous ardor. Enough so to prompt exasperation or applause depending on where one lies on the political spectrum or how much of the filmmaker they can withstand.
His deceptively titled Fahrenheit 11/9 is cautionary, an expose of sorts, and a call to action that can certainly be discordant and unnerving. Particularly when a section on unions transitions to harrowing school violence. You can’t be prepared for the worst and hope for the best anymore.
For real news junkies the information on view here isn’t revelatory (nothing much when it comes collusion and Russia with now a twist on that, not to mention more developments like an inflammatory anonymous op-ed piece from a senior administration official, as well as Bob Woodward’s latest book), but for all the ADD and weariness going around, this creatively insistent and meddling prodder has a way to brace and inspire. Maybe not to the level of others in his often politically oriented oeuvre like Roger & Me, Sicko and Fahrenheit 9/11, the latter still the champ for theatrical revenue for a non-fiction feature.
Election Day 2016 footage begins the proceedings when a fair share of U.S. citizens thought the Democratic nominee would become the 45th U.S. President (one of the exceptions, of course, being Moore). An enthusiastic campaign becomes bittersweet reality like its halcyon source almost belonging to a different outcome.
Moore emphasizes the importance of what led to the eponymous result and the on-going ramifications from it of the spurring of external influences. His hometown of Flint, Michigan (see Roger & Me) gets a vibrant analysis for its water issue and the Michigan governorship of Rick Snyder a key precursor to the insolent changes going on as parallels are drawn with Nazi-era Germany when it comes to images and audio heard over it.
Of course, a self-congratulatory smugness with sensationalism arises whether a “weapon” in an emergency call or in the case of a perfunctory citizen’s arrest that will distinguish partiality regarding the articulate and argumentative auteur. Some fair-mindedness comes in his less aggressive posture back in 1998 on The Rosanne Show. Surprising, the Democratic Party is honed in on when it comes to failing its constituency, as well as an impatient press leaning towards the middle and making it possible for a current state of affairs to leave much indignation. For example, in proclivities regarding whistleblowers, extradition of unauthorized immigrants and undocumented workers, and drone strikes, to name just a few.
Fahrenheit 11/9 is a pointed stab that has the ability to provoke and arouse where desiring the need for change but not acting on it is being hoodwinked. Tired of compromise are those like the West Virginia teachers, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas students of Parkland, Fla. and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who go to show that ordinary folks still can be instrumental to extraordinary occurrences. Because in the current climate (with lots of activity in the Twitter-verse) apparently those with great power aren’t displaying much responsibility at all.